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14 March 2012

It’s fair to say that the phrase ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ (CSR) has certainly crept into the world of fleet management. If you, as I often do, ask a group of fleet managers to define the essence of CSR, the basic response revolves around the need to manage the fleet safely and responsibly in order to avoid prosecution or civil actions.

This is correct, but what happens if fleet managers neglect these responsibilities? At this point in time, it’s vital to look more closely at the potential role of CSR.

The concept of CSR began many years ago, when the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 came into being. Since then, the legislation concerning workplace activities has continued to develop, often encouraged by European directives. We have seen a rise in interest by the courts as a result of disasters, and the development of ‘blame culture’ has also created a wealth of litigation.

The simple sticking plaster solution, adopted by many fleet managers, is to develop a policy document to regulate employees’ activities. This is regarded by risk management experts as one of the six steps recommended in the work management regulations towards assessing a risk, developing a safety culture and subsequent monitoring.

In light of this and if something does go wrong, a fleet manager who buys a policy thinking that it satisfies a company’s CSR and then sits back and does nothing is in an even worse position, in the eyes of a judge, than someone who didn’t recognise there was a risk and did nothing at all.

Although things have changed slightly over the last few years in the world of work-related road safety, it’s still vital to keep your Corporate Social Responsibilities in mind. Take your foot off the pedal, and before you know it your company could be in real trouble.